Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m not looking forward to this at all. Relegation has knocked the stuffing out of me, and all I really want now is a bit of a break from it all. I can’t see that coming any time soon, not with the multiple financial and political issues we’re likely to have to contend with on a daily basis this Summer.
But we have one more game, and an apparent duty to turn out at Southampton and put on a professional performance. West Ham are relying on us to do them a favour. Poor lambs.
Part of me really wants us to do that. To turn up, pressure off, and play with a little freedom. We desperately need to restore some pride.
Then again, the other part of me will be bloody furious if we find the motivation to perform in this game, after the shambolic approach to the previous four games that actually did matter.
But that’ll no doubt be academic – Southampton need a win to get promoted. I’m concerned.
How are they getting on?
Too bloody well. They’ve been in the top two all season long, so should have really wrapped things up by now. They haven’t quite managed it yet, but couldn’t ask for a better game to finish things off with – a home fixture to perennial away day spasmos; Coventry City (that’s us, by the way).
It’s on BBC One too. Heaven help us.
Who could cause us trouble?
Lambert, Lallana, Sharp, Do Prado. All manic scorers of goals. Rickie Lambert has been an absolute sensation, and with his clinical nature, is surely guaranteed at least one.
They’ve also got a couple of Sky Blue old boys in Jack Cork and left back Dan/Daniel/Danny Fox. Cork was always a bit of a weedy so-n-so for us, but since then has matured and adapted to the physical demands of the game. Add to this his clear technical ability and ingenuity in the middle of the pitch, and he’s been a gem of a player for them over the last couple of years.
We know all about what Fox offers. Dangerous delivery into the box, penchant for a tackle, and a swagger about his game that’s seldom seen in left-backs.
Boss Nigel Adkins is also the most pragmatic and sensible manager you’ll ever see, with little panic about him. I suppose it’s easy to be like that when your team’s winning all the time. It’ll be interesting to see how he approaches things tomorrow, especially if we keep them at bay for any period of time.
Also, could you ever imagine Thorn saying this:
Saturday is about what what we do. Sun Tzu – The Art of War – (never underestimate your opposition) and we’ve got to expect the unexpected from them.
Sky Blues team news
If you thought our team had been threadbare up to now, just wait till you see the matchday squad tomorrow.
Both captains this season Clingan and Keogh are unavailable through injury and suspension, respectively (and all that). Clingan’s more than likely played his last game for the Sky Blues as he seems intent on moving on in the Summer. Keogh ruined his 100% record by getting himself sent off against Doncaster. It’ll be interesting to see who is given the armband in their absence. Murphy, McSheffrey or Cranie will probably pick this up.
There’s also going to be a huge launch into first team action for 17 year old defender Jordan Willis. Up against the league’s top scorer Rickie Lambert is going to be quite the introduction for him. All we can do is prepare him well and hope his natural ability and enthusiasm sees him through. It’s a tough test, but there’s little option but to get him involved.
Every piece of football logic suggests we’re absolutely done for. If – and it’s a big if – the occasion gets to the Saints, or if we can grab an early goal, you never know what can happen. But the biggest problem all season has been our relentlessly defensive approach to games. I struggle to see anything but a loss if we spend the 90 minutes inviting them onto us.
Of course we hope we’re wrong, but in the interests of being fair, we’re probably going to lose aren’t we? 2-0 to Southampton to sign off this horrid, horrid campaign.
Sobbing hell fire.